Wednesday 06 April 2016

Bible Book:

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek … For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of those who by their wickedness suppress the truth.” (vv. 16, 18)

Romans 1:16-25 Wednesday 6 April 2016

Psalm: Psalm 66


The word 'karma' is better known now than it was when I was achild. I expect we're all familiar with the idea that actions haveconsequences beyond this life. For some people the state of afuture life is dependent on what we do in this life.

Perhaps this is a bit like wrath. But for the Christian, wrathis more to do with now. The hymn In Christ alone has caused more debate andgenerated more heat than any other in recent years. And it's alldown to the word 'wrath' - "The wrath of God was satisfied". Sooften people hear the word as meaning 'anger'. The dictionary backsthis up.

The problem here is that we are looking at the wordsuperficially in English. The Greek word that lies behind ourtranslation is more nuanced. The feeling is of a controlled,passionate, resistance; not something sudden. I look at it likethis. If you bang your head on a wall it will hurt. That's part ofnature. You won't hurt if you don't bang your head! The fact of thehurt is not because the wall has it in for you. That's just thenature of brick. What Paul is trying to say is that woven into thenature of existence, God given, is a factor that resists wrong. Putanother way if we go with the flow of God's will, doing what Godwould allow, then our going will be easier than if we try toresist.

Now the problem comes, as it always has, in trying tosecond-guess what God would allow, or what Jesus would do in oursituation, 2,000 years later in a totally different context. Addedto this today is how we share this idea with those of other faithsand none - Jews and Greeks in Paul's terms. He stresses that othersshould know of God's ways through nature, or perhaps conscience,and that they should be aware of what is coming to them.

To Ponder

  • If what Paul meant by wrath was not what we so often think itmeans, is it still a word we can use with integrity? Why?
  • How would you explain Paul's idea of wrath to someone whoobjects to singing 'In Christ alone'?
  • Paul suggests that others should be aware of God's ways fromexperience. What evidence is there that this is still truetoday?
Previous Page Tuesday 05 April 2016
Next Page Thursday 07 April 2016